Dearest Sallie Mae,

18 Jan

Is education a right or privilege?

This question was raised months ago on my friend’s TOEFL practice test.

Then, I didn’t know the answer.

Though deep in my heart,  I felt that education and its pursuit was a right for all seekers, I simply couldn’t justify the claim.  Is it really a privilege?  Something reserved for those, who by the gamble of class, are pronounced sole heirs to it and  its rewards?

Certainly, you know the answer.  As a business woman whose work as an education financier, whose house is built with the dreams of students lacking in funds but overflowing with ambition, you must.

In my heart, I refuse to believe that you’re  merely a loan shark preying on the masses by waving a golden ticket to  improvement and advancement and all it entails before the hungry mouths of those desiring it most.

Education is a right. . . .right?

As a little girl, I certainly thought so.

I knew that my lottery ticket to success would be through a quality education.  So I studied hard and toiled endlessly, in hopes of receiving an academic scholarship to school.

 

And, miraculously, I did.

 

Everything was going perfectly according to plan, that is, until I saw the red ink on the wall—I owed thousands beyond the bounds of my full-tuition scholarship for the first semester alone.

As I became riddled with worry, you swooped in like a fairy godmother: One wave of your magic wand and wooosh, the debt disappeared.  It was just like the movies.  Only, instead of a dress, shoes and a carriage, I received the opportunity of a lifetime, the opportunity to improve myself in a bubble, protected from the  outside world. 

It was beautiful.

 

But just as the dreaded stroke of midnight loomed over the mystical evening in the story, graduation and its realities haunted the recesses of my mind.

 

I knew that once I received that fateful piece of paper, the magic would wear off, leaving me weighing the reality of the last four years against a debt that I would be working off for the next 20 years of my life.

 

Alas.  That’s life.

 

Time goes on.

 

People grow older.

 

And the fairy godmother comes back to collect.

 

But there’s one thing that even you cannot take.  My knowledge.  My experiences.  Those are my glass slippers: The memoirs and mementos that remind me that it was all worthwhile.

 

So as I toil to build my empire within my local and global community and use the skills, knowledge and mentality acquired through your loans, I want to thank you for helping me in my pursuit of greatness.

 

Is education a right or privilege?

Depends on who you ask.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Shonda-ella

 

 

 

 

P.S. Just give me until June.

 

 

 

 

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